Philippine Army sent Vanguard to its second straight loss with a 25-19, 25-22, 22-25, 25-18 victory in the 2023 Spikers’ Turf Open Conference, Wednesday at the Paco Arena in Manila.
The Troopers relied on PJ Rojas’ 16-point output including 15 from spikes, while Mark Enciso provided the much-needed backup with 13 points to his name to go with eight digs.
Skipper Benjaylo Labide did it all for Army with nine points, 11 excellent receptions, and eight digs while Kevin Liberato chimed in seven points.
“Wala kaming nablock nung third set. Sabi ko kapag pinabayaan nila na paluan nang paluan, wala talaga kaming maiiscore pero kung sa blockings pa lang sisimulan na natin, doon na tayo pupuntos,” said Troopers head coach Melvin Carolino, whose team improved to 2-1, eclipsing their win total last conference.
After convincing wins by Army in the first two sets, Vince Abrot and Razzel Palisoc came alive for the Volley Hitters in the third to extend the match, 25-22.
But the Troopers went hot to start the fourth frame, racing to a 15-6 lead before Vanguard caught up with them, 15-17.
Army, though, had one last trick up its sleeves as Liberato and Jaidal Abdulmajid finished off the Volley Hitters.
“‘Yun ang maganda sa team namin ngayon kasi sundalo sila lahat so isang sabi mo lang, susunod kaagad kaya solid ‘yung team namin ngayon,” added Carolino, noting all his players are enlisted personnels.
Abrot led the Vanguard charge anew with 15 points on 10 attacks and five service aces laced with 10 excellent receptions and nine digs.
Palisoc produced 13 points, all from hits, while Joven Camaganakan who came in as a substitute added 10 points as they slip to 1-2.
Both teams will return on Sunday with Army facing Iloilo at 12:30 pm while Vanguard battles Santa Rosa at 5:30 pm.